Board Meeting - August 3
At its August 3 regular meeting, the RISD Board heard informational presentations about the accountability system, projected school ratings and the proposed construction of an operations center as part of a consolidation of facilities and support services.
2015 Accountability & Projected Ratings
The Board heard projections of 2015 accountability ratings, based primarily on STAAR results from the 2014-15 school year (see June story on 2015 STAAR results). Because new mathematics standards were being implemented last school year, math STAAR results were not included in ratings. RISD's performance in mathematics is traditionally strong, and the exclusion of STAAR math results in grades 3-8 is expected to have a negative impact on school ratings under the accountability system.
The district and 50 RISD schools are expected to be rated "Met Standard" for 2015, while three campuses are expected to be rated "Improvement Required (IR)." Two of the three schools expected to be rated IR, Carolyn G. Bukhair Elementary and RISD Academy, would have been rated Met Standard if mathematics results had been included in the accountability system. The district is pursuing an appeal with the Texas Education Agency on behalf of those two campuses.
"STAAR results are the backbone of school ratings in Texas," said Dr. Waggoner. "While opinions among stakeholders about standardized assessments vary, we view the tests as a valuable tool that helps us determine if a student has mastered the curriculum. Some of our results this year are disappointing, and we have been evaluating curriculum, programs, services, and support systems.
"While we want our students and schools to be successful under any objective measure, the true value of an assessment system lies in providing useful information to educators to support individual student achievement. We will continue to evaluate our accountability results and will allocate resources to support both teachers and students.
"We have high expectations in RISD and we're not here to make excuses. We are meeting this challenge head on and I’m very confident we will be successful.”
Distinctions, which are available to schools and districts in academic subjects based on student performance compared to peers across the state, will be released by the state along with district and school ratings on Aug 7.
See the 2015 accountability presentation
See projected 2015 school ratings
The Board heard information and viewed a preliminary site plan related to the proposed construction of an operations center on vacant district property between Abrams Road and Greenville Avenue. The facility would provide additional functional space for support operations and consolidate a number of functions currently housed at different locations around the district, including Facility Services, Child Nutrition, Bond Project Management, Purchasing, Testing/Accountability, Textbooks, Warehouse, Print Shop, and Transportation.
Part of the consolidation plan would include the closure and sale of the aging district facility on Security Row, which would otherwise require repair and construction. The operations center would utilize 14.6 acres of the existing 43 acres owned by the district at the location across Greenville Avenue from Restland Cemetery.
The district is filing a zoning request with the City of Richardson, and if approved, could potentially begin construction as soon as February of 2016, with first phase completion in June of 2016 and final phase completion in May of 2017.
The facility would be funded with existing funds and would not be part of a potential 2016 bond package.
Preliminary planning includes consideration of surrounding property owners through inclusion of screening walls, district vehicle traffic not utilizing residential side streets, and thoughtful placement of facilities and equipment on the site. The operations center site would not include the district's 140 bus parking facility that would continue to operate from its location approximately 1/2 mile away on Buckingham Road.
Learn more about the August 3 Board Meeting